Supporting Sunderland Antiquarians to help us look forward to the past

A well-used quote about history is from William Shakespeare who, according to Wikipedia, wrote plays and things.

Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 12:11 pm

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He reckoned: “What is past is prologue.” He said this in a 1610 interview with the Echo, before recycling it in The Tempest. He meant that every event from the past has brought us directly to this point in time.

Profound or what? Yet he didn’t nail it quite like the theme song from Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? which observes: “It’s the only thing to look forward to – the past.”

It certainly feels like it these days, which leads us seamlessly… alright, it leads us very contrivedly to the Sunderland Antiquarian Society.

The old Wearmouth Bridge is used by a football crowd for the last time in April 1927. But the Antiquarians can tell you much, much more about this photograph.

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Putting it succinctly the society, a charity, preserves Sunderland’s history better than anyone else could through archives, talks, writing and a wealth of personally known and collated information.

If you need to know anything about this city’s past, they’re generally your best bet.

The gentleman who writes historical pieces for this very newspaper (excellent fellow whose name eludes me), relies heavily on the Antiquarians to do his homework for him and gratefully acknowledges the fact.

Only dullards fail to be captivated by history. So why not join the society? It’s only £20 a year and we guarantee anyone with an interest in Sunderland that it’s worth it. The money is then spent wisely.

They buy and preserve numerous artefacts. For example, they paid for and organised the blue plaque which now hangs outside James Herriot’s birthplace in Roker.

This only happened last September. Inexplicably, nobody else had shown any interest in something which should have been attended to many years earlier. They champion this city.

Members have exclusive access to archives on the Antiquarians’ website, which is worth looking at just to see the photographs. The society has been around since 1900, so we’re talking a fair few snaps, maps and newsletters. You will lose yourself.

If this article sounds like nothing more than an unashamed plug for a wonderful Wearside institution, that’s because it is. They and their 1,261 members deserve it.

Their Douro Terrace HQ opens Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Visit sunderland-antiquarians.org.

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